Their Eyes Were Watching God Literary Analysis While reading Zora Neale Hurston’s, Their Eyes Were Watching God, I was able to identify her use of literary devices to make points and draw the reader’s attention. Hurston used devices such as foreshadowing, sensory, imagery, allegory, irony, symbolism, point of view, and metaphors. Hurston used foreshadowing in Chapter 2 when Janie and Nanny were chatting about
Janie kissing Johnny Taylor. Nanny raised Janie since she was an infant; it was her prayer that the Lord would allow her to live long enough to see Janie become a woman as she says, “Ah ast de Lawd when you was uh infant in mah arms to let me stay here till you got grown”. Marriage is a sign of womanhood in many cultures, it was not quite a surprise then that a couple of months after Janie was married, Nanny died.
At the beginning of Chapter 7, Hurston uses foreshadowing of Jody’s death. Janie begins to see that “Joe wasn’t so young as he used to be”. She even says that “there was already something dead about him”.
Hurston gives an example of sensory imagery when she talks about Joe Starks. “Then Joe Starks realized all the meanings and his vanity bled like a flood”. Most people can relate to this statement because we have bled and we have seen what floods look like so when we read “bled like a flood” we can almost see Jody’s vanity just rushing away from him.
Hurston uses Janie’s hair to create an allegory in Chapter 6. Jody forces Janie to tie up her hair when in public since Janie’s hair is so attractive to men, Joe bitterly “commands Janie to tie up her hair around the store”, constraining Janie’s femininity and stifling her identity. In an
May 2015 attempt to keep Janie all to himself, he loses her completely. The headrag represents the restrictions imposed on women by men in power.
Hurston employs irony when Nanny is telling Janie about the time that Janie’s mother was raped by the school teacher that Nanny had sent her to. She says “Ah was ‘spectin’ to make a school teacher outa her” … “Dat school teacher had done hid her in da woods all night long, and he had done raped mah baby and run off just before day” (Hurston 19). The irony in this can be found in how Nanny wanted Janie’s mother to be a school teacher which was a respectable position to have, but yet her teacher went and raped her which isn’t very respectable.
Tea Cake provides a good example of symbolism in that he is a comforter and protector to Janie. Tea Cake is her love and protector; he keeps her safe and helps support their marriage by getting a job, house, and money. In the end he even sacrifices himself to protect her from a rabid dog. Tea Cake is also very symbolic of a savior in how he shows up and takes Janie away from Eatonville where it appears that she is stuck in the rough of the world. She still is running the store and still has the reputation…